New bridge marks 100 years of Minstead Trust's Furzey Gardens
A POPULAR New Forest garden that supports people with learning disabilities has opened a new footbridge to mark its 100th anniversary.
The timber-framed Centenary Bridge takes visitors along a path through a newly-sown wildflower meadow in Minstead’s Furzey Gardens.
It has been created by engineering firm Ramboll, along with people with learning disabilities and gardeners at the Minstead Trust-run site.
As well as the centenary, the bridge commemorates innovative engineering pioneered by Edwin Gifford and his company, Gifford, founded nearby in 1951 and now part of the Ramboll group.
Minstead Trust chief executive Adam Dodd said: “It is a touching and tasteful celebration of Gifford’s contribution to the local area over the last 50 years, and all the more heart-warming as 50 years from now, some of the people we support who collaborated on its construction will be able to return to the gardens and say, ‘I made this’.”
Through the Minstead Trust, Furzey Gardens supports people with learning disabilities to maintain the grounds and raise plants in the nursery.
Ramboll supported the project through funding from the Ramboll Foundation and volunteering staff to help with the design and construction.
Over the years they have previously volunteered in building sheds and playground equipment for the site.
Ramboll associate Paul Brown said: “Immediately we saw the project aligned with our values to promote sustainable and innovative development for the benefit of nature, society and people.
“The volunteering days bring our staff together in a new environment with countless benefits for team working, health and wellbeing.”
Furzey Gardens is running a Special Years fundraising campaign to raise £500,000, and people can donate, take part in a raffle or sponsor one of 100 centenary oaks being planted in the autumn.